Commentary on Colossians, 4:7-9 (Faithful Servants)

Colossians 4:7-9


“7 Tychicus, the beloved brother and faithful minister and fellow servant, will make known to you all my affairs.”


Not much is known about Tychicus, but we do know that he was “of Asia” (Acts 20:4), and that he was a traveling companion of Paul, and served with him in ministry. Paul often sent him out to various places as a messenger, which likely included teaching, and serving as needed (Eph 6:21-22; 2 Ti 4:12; Tit 3:12).


“beloved” (Gr. agapetos – 27)


Dearly loved, much loved.


This is the same Greek word used to describe Jesus as “My beloved Son” (Matt 3:17; 17:5), which gives us an idea of how endearing and precious this word is in describing someone. Tychicus was that kind of person. We all know someone like that, someone whom everyone loves and is blessed by. There are some people that we have to learn to love, and then there are others that are so easy to love that it’s a quite natural thing to do. Tychicus was that kind of person.

People are dearly loved because they themselves love others. They care about others, and are encouragement to others, as Tychicus was (Col 4:8; Eph 6:21-22). The love of Christ must have radiated from this man. I believe we can all be viewed as a “beloved brother” or “beloved sister” when the love of Christ is genuine in our hearts and flowing through us to everyone around us. At that point, it’s Christ drawing people to Himself, through His love for them.


Many Christians are busy witnessing, and serving the Lord in other ways, but not all Christians exhibit the tender love of Christ while doing so. I heard something a long time ago that changed the way I deal with others. It goes like this:


“People don’t care how much you know, till they know how much you care.”


Serving with a sincere love for others is more important than the serving itself. To serve without genuine love, is to serve in the flesh, and we can’t make a true difference in people’s lives that way. And more importantly, Christ is not glorified.


“faithful minister and fellow servant”  


No doubt “faithful minister” refers to the faithfulness of Tychicus in his service to Christ, but it’s likely that Paul was thinking of his faithfulness in his service to himself. In other words, Tychicus was a faithful assistant to Paul. We don’t know all the ways in which he ministered to Paul, or how he served with him as a “fellow servant,” but we do know that he was faithful in everything he did. May all of us serve with such love and singleness of heart.


I think for Tychicus, serving Christ and others was a passion. It’s what he lived for. Now days, and especially within the culture of America, it’s so easy to get side-tracked from our primary mission as disciples of Christ, and to get focused on things that have no eternal value. We devote so much time to sports, activities, and other personal interests, that ministry is often just a sideline for us. Ministry is not a secondary occupation of the Christian life, but rather, it’s the primary focus.


“will make known to you all my affairs.
8 Him I have sent to you for this very purpose, that you may know our situation, and that he may comfort your hearts,
9 together with Onesimus, the faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will make known to you all that is going on here.”


Paul was in Roman prison at the time of this writing, and the Colossian Christians were apparently concerned about his welfare. The fact that the Ephesian Christians were also concerned (Eph 6:21-22), indicates that Christians everywhere were concerned about Paul and his situation in Rome.


Thus Paul sent Tychicus and Onesimus to the church in Colossae in order to give them an update on his situation, and to comfort and encourage their hearts about it.


“Onesimus”


This is the same Onesimus that Paul wrote about in his letter to Philemon. He was a believer who lived in Colossae. Onesimus was once his slave, who apparently had stolen from him and fled. Paul met him while he was in prison, and led him to faith in Christ. He became very useful to Paul during that time. He sent him back to Philemon with an appeal to receive him back as a brother in the Lord. Please read the book of Philemon to learn more.